Agusta To Increase Stake in BA609 Tiltrotor Program
Agusta officials have revealed they are currently negotiating with Bell to increase the share the Italian manufacturer holds in the BA609 tiltrotor program. Currently at 25 percent for Agusta and 75 percent for Bell, the workshare may eventually become “close to 50/50,” Agusta CEO Amedeo Caporaletti said. The Cascina Costa-based company has been providing more resources to the BA609 program than expected, as Bell has put its efforts into the troubled MV-22 Osprey military tiltrotor. Agusta’s move is aimed at maintaining the BA609 program schedule and costs within reasonable limits. As a consequence of the deeper involvement in the BA609 program, Agusta’s share in the Bell/Agusta Aerospace Co. should reach “50 percent” within one year. The BA609 made its first flight on March 7 in Arlington, Texas. One of the four prototypes should come to Agusta’s test facilities early next year. Certification of the $8 to 10 million (in 1997 dollars), nine-passenger aircraft is pegged for 2007.